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Sad news...and I'm seeking advice, AGAIN

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 
I've told you guys that my grandfather found out he has lung cancer. Well, on tuesday this week, he went to the cancer clinic to find out all the info and to get details about his test result etc....

Anyways, the conclusion is that they have given him 9 months to live. With treatment. And if he does not do the treatment, 6-7 months. (He has not given me this news....my husband and aunt told me) The other problem is that they do not think his heart is strong enough to withstand the treatment. Personally, I wonder: Is it really worth going through chemotherapy to extend your life 2 measly months longer than if you don't do the treatment? Plus...if he does the treatment and his heart takes a turn for the worse...we can be talking weeks here. I hope he choses to forgo that risk. I'm not sure what the doctors will tell him.

I'm in turmoil right now because 1)-I'm not ready for another loss. Not right now. I'm not sure I want to deal with this again and 2) I need to call him and I am not sure what to say. I'm afraid to talk to him. I have no idea what to say and I think I may end up saying something stupid. What do you say to someone who has been given months to live?????

On top of that, he is what I have left of my mom....this is the hardest part. I feel like I'm losing another part of her.

I guess what I'd really, honestly like to know is, what can I say to him at a time like this?
post #2 of 60
Ghyslaine, I am so sorry about your grandfather.
If I was in your shoes, I would call him up and ask him to have time together to treasure, if he does not want to talk about dying, perhaps he might like something positive, make his final days happy, just speak from the heart when you talk to him and tell him how much you love him.

We will always be here Ghyslaine, if you ever need a shoulder. I wish I could find the words to make you feel better.

post #3 of 60
Ghys, nobody should be put through hell, to give them a few weeks or months. It comes down to a quality of life issue.

In the year before Russ died, I saw to it that he had and did the things that made him happy and that he got medication to make him comfortable.

Your grandfather is the only one that can make this decision and the best thing that you can do is support him, whatever he decides.

It hurts, to lose people that you love and I know that you've lost so much, recently. You do have family and friends, though, to help you get through it. ((()))
post #4 of 60
My grandfather died a few years ago. When he was in the hospital, the best thing we could tell him is that we loved him, and still do. Although he was very sick, he was still his feisty self, and made us laugh as always.

I am sorry you are going through this. Just let him know you're there if he wants to talk.

And remember we're all here if you need to talk.

post #5 of 60
Ghyslaine, Let him take the lead. I was in this position some time ago when my idolized big brother was told he was terminal. He also had cancer, and stopped the chemo because it was making him so ill. The doctor understood and agreed. He used to stop by when he needed to talk. He said he couldn't talk to his wife because it upset her, so she couldn't talk. He was in pain, and would stop by for something cold to drink. I realized eventually that something cold was another way of asking for some whiskey to ease his pain. He worked until he had to be hospitalized.

I was his baby sister, since he was a 15 when I was born, but I knew I had to be strong for him. When I felt the lump in my throat and the burning in my eyes, I went in the kitchen and ran the water, got a drink, whatever enabled me to get control. My mother had died only 2 years before. But he had to talk, and I was the only one who he thought could listen. I joked with him, told him how much I loved him, and even teased him. When he went to the hospital, I went every night. It wasn't easy, because once I thought I was in the wrong room. He didn't look like my big brother with the huge muscles who carried me when I was tired and guided me, even told me the facts of life--poor guy! The last night, instead of insisting I go home before it got dark, he kept telling me, "Don't go, Jeanie." And I stayed until 4:30 in the morning. I rejoiced for him when he went to heaven the next morning, because I knew my big brother had his muscles back, and could almost hear his laughter. My tears had all been shed, and I realized it had been better that he go to God. Please let your grandfather talk. My big brother needed me. Grandfather will need you. God bless you and give you the strength to see this through.
post #6 of 60

Ghys, the best you can do is be there for him and love him!! When my father was given that diagnosis, he decided to go through the cancer treatments. To this day I believe he made the wrong decision.

So please back him up on his decision, no matter how hard it will be. No one is prepared for this type of diagnosis and no one expects you to know what to say. That is why I say be there with him and give him your love and support.

I can't imagine the range of emotions you've been put through the last while. I at the moment do not have the right thing to say to you or the cure all phrase.

The best thing one can do for a loved one is not shown through what words you say rather it is shown through actions of the heart.
post #7 of 60

It really is his decision. My dad refused chemo for his leukemia because it really wouldn't have extended his life a lot, and he was determined that he did not want to end his life in the hospital. When the time came, he had Hospice into the house. It took about a week, with only pain management medication, but he got to be at home and with everyone.

My best friend's grandfather did undergo chemo for bladder cancer at age 80+. I don't really see what benefit it had for him. He was really, really sick from it, and I don't believe it extended his life long enough for him to be miserable from it. I think he bought into the fact that the doctor told him that he could give him up to 5 more years. Who can give anybody over the age of 80 five more years?????
post #8 of 60
My father died at the age of 46 from lung cancer,he chose not to have the como. at that time I was mad at him for not trying to help himself, but now that I work at a nursing home I understand why.The como,makes people very sick,so sick they are sorry they did.for what? a few months of being so sick you wish you were dead? Your grandfather has to make that chose himself,If he does you must just make sure his time here on earth is one full of love,and understanding. There are med.s to stop any pain.I am so sorry you have to go through this,God bless you and all your family.May I have your name and your grandfathers?,my husband is a pastor,He wants to pray for you and your family.

post #9 of 60
Thread Starter 
I have tears in my eyes as I write this. Partly for grandpa and partly because, each and every time I stop and think "Why me????" I realise it is not only me. Each and everyone of you has had a loss and I feel your pain. I understand it...and I am grateful for your kind thoughts and advice.

I watched my father-in-law wittle away to nothing. He had cancer, chose to forgo the treatment and lived in pain for the last few months. I remember looking into his eyes this past October. I did not recognize him....I still can't shake what I saw. I dream of it at times. He was a strong, burly man before the cancer. When he passed away, he barely weighed 100 pounds. I think he made the right choice though...he had liver cancer and was told even with treatment, his chances were minimal. He passed away at home, which was his final wish.

I wasted too much time today wanting to call grandpa and not wanting to. It's too late tonight. He is now in bed. It'll have to be tomorrow. I'm scared though...scared that with all of this "what do I say" time I'm wasting, I may not be given the chance. And if I am not given the chance, I will never forgive myself for not knowing what to say when I should have said it the most.

After grandpa's appointment on tuesday, I called and spoke to my grandma. I said goodnight, told her to tell him I was thinking of him. At this point, they had not given me much news. Anyways...he was taken away by ambulance one hour after I called. It was his heart. They kept him overnight and released him the next afternoon. I did not find out about all of this until thursday.

I long to say "I love you" yet...grandpa has never said those words. It's not something he does. I know he loves me and he knows I love him. I'm almost afraid to say the words because it's like "Why are you saying this now????" I just wish I could tactfully think of a way of slipping that in without making him wonder why....

Thanks everyone once again for being there.

Jeanie, what an admirable thing you did for your brother. I am sure you are happy to have been there for him. And, I'm sure he is proud of his little sister.

Cindy, it sounds like you went through a trying period. You are absolutely right. The right decision is to support their decision. It's just not always an easy one.

Kellye, Brenda..Thank you. It means alot to have your support.

Kassandra, Deb.....I am going to respect his decision. There is no doubt there. My fear is that he may chose the treatment and not survive....how do you tell him it may not be worth the risk? And for an extra 2 months max. Is it really worth the sickness you will have to endure? I just don't know....but yes, it is indeed his choice.

Sherral, I am honored that you would do such a thing. My grandfathers name is Joe Massia. I would be honored if you would send all the prayers to him. Myself....well, I have you guys supporting me. Right now, that means alot.
post #10 of 60
I am so sorry that you are going through this. It is never easy to lose someone you love. There has been some great advice give here, and I really don't have anything much to add. I just wanted to let you know that you and yours are in my prayers. It is really hard to stop the lump in your throat, and the tears when you are trying to speak to him. When I was caring for my s/o's grandmother, and my dear friend, the hospice nurse had the doctor give me a prescription for Ativan. It is a mild sedative, it does not make you sleepy, or keep you from being able to function. It helped me be able to enjoy the time I had left with her without having to leave the room to keep her from seeing me cry. I usually do not like to take such things, but was glad to be able to get through those days calmly. It may help you, if your doctor thinks it is a good idea. It really helped me a lot.
post #11 of 60
Thread Starter 
Thank you krazykat (sorry...I don't know your real name).

When my mom had her accident, I was at her bedside for close to 2 weeks. I had a breakdown there. I was living off of gravol and immodium. They actually almost had to admit me I was in such bad shape. My doctor was called and a prescription of ???? I'm not even sure what it was was given to me. I took it for approx. one month and have not since. It did help me sleep at night so I'm thinking it was more like a sedative. I am 100% in aggreance with taking medication when needed. For now...I'm okay. But I will keep the Ativan in mind. although I hope I don't have to take anything.
post #12 of 60
Ghyslaine, I'm so sorry to hear about this. I truly believe the best thing to do is find out what his wishes are, whether to die at home, have pain relief, be alone or with family...etc,etc and accept them as his decision. He will truly appreciate that his wishes are respected and that he's not just another sick person that doctors get to poke at. I know you will respect his decisions, as you had just said so, and I agree with you. I also work at an old age home and chemo just doesn't seem to be the way, there are lots of different pain medications out there and comfortable beds, wherever they may be (at home/hosptial).

Please let us know what Joe decides and how things go for him and for you.
post #13 of 60

Each of us faces death. If Grandpa chooses to undergo treatment, it is because he believes in his own special brand of miracle, and is willing to take the risk to achieve it. No matter what decision he makes, I believe you should allow him the dignity to make it, and cherish him for whatever time he has left.

In my opinion, my father was not being treated by doctors who really had his best interests at heart. I still believe that his diagnosis was made way too late to give him any real options. At one point, I took matters into my own hands and encouraged him to seek another doctor's opinion. By the time he agreed, it really was too late. It was very hard to let him go (2 years ago), and I still believe the outcome could have been different. He really fought the good fight, but when his life became nothing more than trips to the hospital for blood transfusions, and it became harder and harder to match his blood, he knew that it was time to let go.
post #14 of 60
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts.... I am taking a deep breathe and going to make a phone call in a few minutes. I'll let you know how it goes.

I intend on respecting whatever decision he makes. In the end, it boils down to this being his fight and he does need to fight it in a way that makes him feel like he is doing what is right for him. I will support him and will also do whatever he wants me to. 6-7-8-9 months....whatever it may be is not a heck of a long time. I would really like to do things for him to make him happy.
post #15 of 60
Thread Starter 
Well...I have somewhat of an update.

I called, but grandpa did not come to the phone. I spoke to grandma. He has not made his decision yet. His first appointment is on Feb 14th (of all dates!) The doctors will be telling him what they think, if they feel he can withstand chemo. Grandma was telling me that my aunt was there last night and that even she told them that sometimes chemo just is not worth it. She is a homecare worker and has seen many cases. She feels that those that opt for no treatment do better than some that chose the treatment. Grandma also told me that there was a homemaker there on friday. They have offered to come in and help out. Right now, grandpa wants to continue doing things on his own. Grandma says all she helps with are buttons on his shirts and, she washes his back for him (I think that is sooooo sweet). Anyways, he just wants to do what he can until he can't anymore and then he'll ask for help.

She did tell me that he does not want to go anywhere anymore and that all he wants to do is sleep. That worries me a little. Not that he does not want to be out and about but, that he is so tired. I know this is draining but I hope he is okay.

I have to go to the office later once the snow slows down a bit. I am hoping to maybe take some time and go see them. Then I can see for myself how he looks.
post #16 of 60

I'm so sorry you have to go through this, to face another loss. I can't really add too much to what has already been said, I would just be echoing what everyone else has told you. It will be hard, very hard sometimes, but cherish all the time you can get with him, and take as much time as you can to spend with him and your Grandma. There were times that I didn't spend as much time with Mom as I could have in the last months she was here, because I didn't want to deal with how sick she really was. How selfish is that? I regret that so much.

Don't be afraid to tell him I Love You. He needs to hear it more now than ever, and he may be too embarassed to say it first. He may be thinking the same thing you are - don't say it now because it would bring attention to the issue. For goodness sake - SAY IT! If he asks why, just tell him that you've never really told him how you feel and it's just high time you did.
post #17 of 60
Ghys, my deepest sympathy having to go through this.

One reason that a person may elect to go through chemotherapy is that it is a "proactive" choice - they cannot stand the thought of just doing nothing, and letting the cancer take over.

You may help him by finding other things he can do to fight the cancer - meditation, visualization, special diets, and so on, which are not as difficult as chemo. Then he may feel that he has something he can do. There are some wonderful resources on the internet, and referrals through support agencies in Ontario. If you would like to know more, send me a PM, and I'll look up some for you. (I'm just down the highway in Hamilton).

The most important thing to do, however, is to tell him that you support whatever he decides to do - that it his decision, and you have no idea what you might choose in the same situation.

And the time will come that he will want to hear you say that you love him - you'll know when the time is right.
post #18 of 60
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys....

Sammie5, I'll send you a PM shortly.

I called grandpa's back at around 2:00pm. He answered but did not want to talk. Actually, could not is more like it. All he said is "Hi Ghyslaine, here's your grandmother". I asked her what ws wrong and she said he is having difficulty breathing and no longer wants to talk on the phone to anyone because it is too hard on him.

I am at the office right now and will probably make a quick visit out to see them. They live about 20 minutes from here.

I'll write later and tell how the visit went. I hope it'll be fine.

I also spoke to my sister today. She is a couple of hours away. She is not taking this well at all. All she did was cry and all I did was listen. I'm at a loss as to what to say. My sister spent alot of time at my grandparents. After my parents divorced, I went to Germany for 4 years with my dad and she stayed with mom. She ended up moving in with my grandparents for a while and is really close to them. Especially grandpa because he is like a father to her. (We have different fathers and, as lucky as I was to be with mine...she has never met hers). I have to call her later ebcause we ended up hanging up because she was so upset. She was refusing to call grandpa/grandma because she says she can't talk, all she does is cry. Anyways.....I ended up using alot of the words of wisdon I received here to try to make her understand that she needs to do that today otherwise tomorrow may be too late and she will regret not having called. She still refused to. But, I think my words kind of sank in. So, Thanks for all the good advice!
post #19 of 60
Sorry to hear about the news of your grandfather... I dont have any advice, except when he needs to talk, just listen to him & be supportive! How old is he?
post #20 of 60
Thread Starter 
Tigger...thank you.

He just turned 80.
post #21 of 60
Oh, Ghyslaine, NO! NO! NO! NO!

Tell him you love him. And don't worry about "being strong" for him. You love him, and if you feel like crying, cry. Believe me, he'll understand, even if he doesn't say so. And he loves you back, even if he doesn't tell you so.

Ghyslaine - I don't know what to say other than I'm so, so sorry. I've kept you and your family in my prayers, and I'll add your Grandpa's name in particular.

I'm so glad you have us here!

post #22 of 60
Your sister should probably call, even if all she can do is cry. Your grandfather will be feeling very lonely right now, and knowing that she cares, even if she can't talk, should help. Keep the lines of communication open, you will be able to help each other. It is sad for each of you, all in different ways.
post #23 of 60
Ghyslaine, Samme is so right about communication. I hope your sister finds the strength to talk to grandfather. After my case of pneumonia last year, I spent a month waiting for the results of a test for lung cancer. I was terrified, and when I tried to discuss it with the children, they wouldn't talk about it. The specialist who had conducted the test had forgotten to give the hospital and my doctor the results, so every time I called I was told they had no results. The first thing that comes to mind is that there is bad news, and that you will get that news when you go for your first checkup. It was horrible to have no one to discuss the awful possibility. My family handled it by denying the possibility when I so needed someone to talk to. It hurt me, and it made me angry at the same time.

I think someone should say that chemo and radiation are often lifesavers. My brother got an extra couple of years of productive life as a result of chemo. But if the cancer metastasizes
and the patient is in the terminal stage, that's when the patient and doctor should have a serious discussion about the wisdom of continuing it. I'd hate to have people think that cancer is always a death sentence. It's not. And treatment often arrests the development. There are many cancer survivors, thank God. My prayers are with all of you. God bless you.
post #24 of 60
The best advice I ever heard about cancer was that it should be considered a chronic, manageable medical condition, not a "death sentence". People live productive lives even if they are never "cured" or in remission, all the while undergoing treatment.

And even metastatic cancer responds to chemo, and can extend life expectancy. The issue is whether the quality of life with chemo is worth the extra months or years that may result. It is an extremely difficult and individual decision, and often a lonely one.

The best advice anyone can give is to support him in any decision he might make, and treasure the time you have with him.
post #25 of 60
Oh Gyslaine!!!!!! Huge HUGS going out to you right now!!! I just read this and I am so sorry to hear you and your family are going through this and I am so sorry for your grandpa to be faced with this!!!! Please know I love you and you and your grandpa are in my thoughts and prayers!!!!!!! Please keep us posted on what decision he makes about treatment!!! I wish I was closer to come over and be with you!!! I too have lost all of my grandparents and both my parents in the past 13 years, one right after another with only 3 or 4 years tops in between each one! It is so hard getting over one loss, only to have another!!!!!! My heart is with you, Ghyslaine, even though I cannot be!!!

If you need to talk, I will be online tomorrow after work for a bit, 4:00 pm my time, unless something comes up.

I hope your sister will reconsider and call your grandpa!!!!!!
post #26 of 60
Thread Starter 
Hi again....

Well, she did call and spoke to grandma. I am not sure what she said because from my conversation with grandma tonight, it appears as if she did not really talk about anything in particular. She did mention to her that she is feeling lots of chest pains and grandma told her it must be stress related. She also told her to take care of her family and that both her and grandpa are fine. Not to worry. Funny how she turned the tables....it's them we're worried about and they are worried about us. She also kind of mentioned in passing that they also fear bone cancer and are testing him for that.

Sammie, thank you for all the links. I am trying to read up on them but there is so much to read! And for you to have tracked Cornwall, wow...thanks!

I have come to the conclusion that grandpa does not really want to talk right now....and that's ok. I called 3 times today to get news and twice grandma answered and the one time grandpa answered, he passed her the phone immmediately. I know he is having difficulties breathing. He is using his puffer quite a bit. But I also think that maybe he just wants some quiet time. I will respect that. And.....I plan on going there one night this week. Hopefully. I really wanted to get there today but my payroll dragged on much longer than I expected.

Jeanie, I'm sorry you ahd to go through that alone. I only hope you found support somewhere. Perhaps here? In reality, we tend to hide from the truth by denying it. It seems to be the easier way out. Deny, and it will go away. But, the truth is, the easier way out is very rarely the reality....

Debby, Thank you sweetie! You are so thoughtful. I would gladly open my door and have a cup of coffee waiting for you here!!!!!
post #27 of 60
Ghyslaine -

I can't offer any advice, but can I offer you a hug? My heart goes out to you.
post #28 of 60
you could give your grandfather a goal to work toward. He could write his favorite memories. Old friends, vacations, favorite places? This could take his mind off the illness and give him happy things to think about and give the family a bit of history to cherish. All you can do is love and cherish the time you have with him. Maybe read him a book or watch a movie with him? My prayers are with you and your family.
post #29 of 60

You can look at this way, too, which can be positive: are they absolutely sure that he has that amount of time to live? Sometimes, doctors can be wrong. There are people out there who are for some miraculous reason able to beat cancers! There are so many drugs out there, too.
post #30 of 60
Originally posted by Whisker's mom
I have tears in my eyes as I write this. Partly for grandpa and partly because, each and every time I stop and think "Why me????"
Ghys, I am so sorry to read this. You and your family have been faced with so much tragedy and loss lately. You need to remember to take care of yourself during these very difficult times too. If you are a religious person I hope you will pray and seek comfort and guidance from your clergyperson.

I work in a nursing home and I see a lot of death. In our facility we have our special way of saying goodbye to a resident who has just passed. The family and staff gather around the bed and say several prayers together ending with the Lord's Prayer. Even though we see a lot of death as a part of our job, it is never easy to deal with the individual losses.

Respect and support your grandfather in whatever choice he makes, let him know how much he has meant to you and treasure your memories of him when his time comes and he is gone...
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